Writing that Reads Fast

Everybody is in a hurry. It’s your job as a writer, blogger, content creator, etc, to respect that, which many times means getting your ideas across as quickly as possible. Cut the fluff. Your reader’s time is valuable to them, so it should be to you, too.

Here are some simple ways to make your writing read faster, saving them time, and making your content more likely to get shared.

1. Refine your ideas.

If you don’t have your ideas clearly defined, edited, and understood, your readers will get lost in your muddled thinking. They’ll have to reread your content, or just stop reading completely. Either way, it’s a failure on your part. You owe it to your audience to give them a polished thought to take with them.

2. Short sentences read fast.

Short sentences increase the rate we read. They also give the illusion of fast paced action. Novelists us this idea constantly to pace the story correctly. Use it, just don’t go overboard.

3. Small words make fast reading.

While learning new words is important, nobody likes to get bogged down by flipping through their dictionary part way through your article. If a short word will do the job, use it.

4. Write clear headlines and subheads.

It can be tempting to create headlines, or even subheads, that don’t provide information. Headlines are meant to draw the reader in, make them ask questions, and read more of the article. That’s great (and necessary) but don’t get so caught up in clever wording you forget to provide value for the reader. When they finish reading your work, the headline should make perfect sense.

5. Break up paragraphs (properly).

I’ve talked about paragraphs before, and how some bloggers turn single sentences into paragraphs. Don’t go that far. Short paragraphs are less intimidating than longer ones, so whenever possible, go for the short and sweet.

6. Edit more.

Take your final version and cut out 10%. You’ll be amazed how often you’ll think you’ve written concisely, only to find you can remove 10% without your readers missing out on anything.

Bonus: cut a second 10%. It’ll not only make your writing better, but will make you a better writer.

7. Write in smaller chunks.

Don’t sit down to a two hour block of time to write. Force a break every 10-15 minutes. It’ll force you to get your main points across before you lose your thoughts or before the timer goes off. There won’t be time to write fluff.

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